Hailed as a “self-assured voice” (Barczablog) with a “masterful control over his idiom” (Classical Music Sentinel), Kevin Lau is one of Canada’s most versatile and sought-after composers. His work has been commissioned and performed by major ensembles across North America, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Hannaford Street Silver Band, and the Houston-based River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. His work has been performed abroad in countries such as Denmark, Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic, and he has held composer residencies with orchestras such as the Niagara Symphony Orchestra (2018-2019) and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (2021-2023.) His six string quartets have been commissioned and performed by internationally renowned quartets, including the Viano, Tesla, Afiara, Dior, and Cecilia String Quartets.
In 2016 he composed the score for the National Ballet of Canada’s full-length ballet Le Petit Prince, featuring choreography by NBOC Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté. His second ballet (Dark Angels), commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra and also choreographed by Côté, was described as “riveting” (Ottawa Citizen) and “extraordinarily accomplished and expressive” (Artsfile). His new interdisciplinary ballet Kimiko’s Pearl, commissioned by Bravo Niagara! and featuring choreography by Yosuke Mino and dancers from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, will premiere in 2024.
Kevin’s discography includes two JUNO award-winning albums: Detach (Redshift, harpist Angela Schwarzkopf) and Mosaïque (Ensemble Made in Canada.) His composition Little Feng Huang is featured on the album Lumena (Redshift, Topaz Duo) which was voted among the “best 22 classical albums of 2022” according to CBC. His music-and-text adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fable The Nightingale was published as an illustrated children’s book by ROCO and Li’l Smith.
Born in Hong Kong, Kevin received his doctorate in 2012 from the University of Toronto under the supervision of Christos Hatzis; shortly after, he was appointed Affiliate Composer of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra till 2015. He is on faculty at Humber College, where he teaches composition, orchestration, and music for contemporary media. He currently lives in Ottawa with his wife Alexa and his dog Varley.